Graham Foundation Grants Awarded to Professor and Alumna

Associate Professor Ana Miljacki, and alumna Zeynep Çelik Alexander, PhD '07, are among the 2016 winners of the Graham Foundation grants.

Miljacki's publication, Terms of Appropriation: Essays on Architectural Influence, edited with Amanda Reeser Lawrence, received funding in the publication group. This book is a collection of critical essays that addresses pressing and timely questions regarding architectural influence. The intent of the book is to establish a shared vocabulary with which to discuss, or contest, the workings of influence as a vital and progressive aspect of architectural discourse. Written by a group of rising scholars in the field of architectural history and criticism, the essays cover a range of architectural subjects but they are linked in their investigations of how architects engage with their predecessors, and in what ways one can productively begin to analyze the workings of influence.

Zeynep Çelik Alexander, an alumna of the MIT History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art (HTC), also received funding for her project 'Kinaesthetic Knowing: A History of Modern Design Education' forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. This book presents the history of "kinaesthetic knowing," as it was theorized in Germany in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The central figures in this history—the art historian Heinrich Wölfflin, the architect August Endell, and the pedagogues Hermann Obrist, Wilhelm von Debschitz, Wassily Kandinsky, and László Moholy-Nagy—operated with the assumption that there existed a non-discursive, non-conceptual way of knowing that could nonetheless compete in its rigor with propositional knowledge dependent on language, concepts, or logic. The book argues that it was upon the foundation of this other way of knowing—assumed to be realized through the body rather than through the mind—that many concepts and techniques central to twentieth-century aesthetic modernism were established. The faith in the epistemological value of kinaesthesia was short-lived but proved crucial: above all, this alternative epistemological principle found traction in a new kind of training that we now call "modern design education."

Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts makes project-based grants to individuals and organizations and produces public programs to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The foundation awarded $490,000 in new grants to individuals around the world to support 59 innovative projects engaging original ideas in architecture. Among the funded projects are exhibitions, publications, films, live performances, and site-specific installations. See the press release here.